Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Ultimate Hot Chocolate

When it is cold outside, all I want to do is curl up with a nice cup of cocoa and a good book. It snowed most of the day yesterday, so cocoa just seemed appropriate.

For this recipe you will want to use good chocolate and not chocolate chips (they put a stabilizer in chocolate chips to keep their shelf life that they don't use in the bars. If you can find them, the chunks are best--these will be in the specialty foods area of your grocer--in whole foods it is by the wine). Keep in mind that this is a very decadent hot chocolate, so feel free to just use milk for a more thinner finished product.

We are spoiled living in DC and having access to so many amazing farms. We get our milk from a small dairy in Pennsylvania called Trickling Springs. As much as I love tomatoes...I love my milk. My grandma gave me a little chocolate milk blender when I was a kid because chocolate milk was a nightly ritual for me. Oddly enough, my sister is not so much a fan of milk--unless it's in her morning coffee in the form of a flavored creamer! Anyhow, Trickling Springs has the best milk bar none, so this is what we use.

Ina Garten
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee powder (Williams Sonoma makes a nice espresso powder)

Heat the milk and half-and-half in a saucepan on medium heat to just below the simmering point. Remove the pan from the heat and add both chocolates. When the chocolates are melted, add the sugar, vanilla extract, and espresso and whisk vigorously. Reheat gently and serve immediately.

If you want an even more decadent hot chocolate make a vanilla bean whipped cream with a little chocolate shavings on top (just whip your cream--1/2 cup or so...add a little powdered sugar and scrape one vanilla bean and a splash of pure vanilla extract...I'll make some soon and post a picture...I just didn't have any heavy cream on hand :P)

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